Okanagan on display at new art gallery

Grizzli gallery
Artist Randall Young shows of the 1983 Fender Stratocaster guitar he painted to Bob Axford and Robert Verdier at the opening of his Layers of Time exhibition in Grizzli’s Winery’s new art gallery.

Guests sipped wine, listened to jazz and took in the works of Randall Young as Grizzli Winery officially opened its art gallery Thursday evening.

The new gallery allows local artists to showcase their work the massive space the winery has to offer, said Matt Lakuk, marketing co-ordinator for Grizzli.

Randall Young’s work resonated with the Grizzli team, being wine-inspired and from the Okanagan.

Young’s show, Layers of Time, is a showcase of the evolution of his art, with some of the approximately 60 pieces going back as far as 34 years. 
Young said he painted a fair bit when he attended the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, then was a graphic artist for some 20 odd years.

Toward the end of that, he started painting more.

About 4.5 years ago, he moved to Okanagan Falls from Alberta.

Young said once he realized he was in wine county with beautiful landscapes, he jumped into more of the local scenes and themes.

Young said he’s not big on photo realism.

“I always tend to make the colours a little more vivid,” he said. “Even if something looks blue, I’ll use another cool colour, a purple or a bluey green. I like to play with the colour a lot.”

Young recently completed a painting of a grizzly bear, which hangs behind Grizzli’s tasting bar.

He hiked up Mount Boucherie to take a few photos in the evening to get the right light, and then sat down and put the painting together with photo references of bears. 
“I don’t like getting that close to bears,” he said.

The exhibitions will change seasonally. Young’s Layers of Time exhibit will be on display until the end of November.

Museum display explores First Nation languages

 Museum display

How do you pronounce that letter? New display at Okanagan Heritage Museum looks at First Nation languages.

An exhibit on First Nation languages, in conjunction with the Royal B.C. Museum, opens at the Okanagan Heritage Museum on Saturday.

Our Living Languages: First Peoples’ Voices in BC celebrates 34 different languages.

Attendees can explore a language map of B.C. and learn how linguists develop orthographies (writing) for languages that were traditionally never written down.

Visitors will also be able to hear stories told by speakers in a multitude of languages. In addition, the Kelowna Museums Society has partnered with the Sncewips Heritage Museum and The Syilx Language House, to add additional content to the exhibition highlighting nsyilxcen — the syilx-Okanagan language.

“With 34, B.C. has more than 60% of all of Canada’s First Nations languages.

“Unfortunately, as a result of over 150 years of government policies designed to eradicate them, every one of B.C.’s First Nations languages are severely endangered or nearly extinct,” said Amanda Snyder, curatorial manager with the Kelowna Museums Society.

The original exhibition of the same name was developed in partnership with the First Peoples’ Cultural Council and is a permanent fixture on the third floor of the Royal BC Museum, in Victoria.

Admission to all Kelowna Museums Society locations is by donation — suggested at $5 for individuals and $15 for families.

The Okanagan Heritage Museum is located at 470 Queensway (corner of Ellis Street) in downtown Kelowna.

Negative virus test leds to Turtle Bay re-opening

 A Lake Country pub has re-opened after closing temporarily because of COVID-19 concerns.

Turtle Bay re-opened for business on Sunday. It had closed when a staff member believed they may have caught COVID-19.

“It is with great relief that we share with you that the Covid test results have come back NEGATIVE,” the pub posted on its website.

After a deep cleaning, the pub re-opened on Sunday at 11 a.m.

On Friday, Interior Health sent a release saying people may have been exposed to COVID-19 in Kelowna at Fossello’s clothing store, 565 Bernard Ave., on July 18 or on the morning of July 20 between 10 a.m. and noon.

They are asked to self-monitor themselves closely for symptoms of COVID-19 and to get tested if they begin to exhibit symptoms.

“Public health contact tracing is under way, and where possible, IH is reaching out directly to individuals who have been exposed,” said the statement.

Interior Health said Friday afternoon 86 COVID cases are now linked to “Kelowna cluster,” which arose from some private parties held around Canada Day. Seventy-four of those cases are Interior Health residents.

Another Kelowna General Hospital worker has been identified as having COVID-19, bringing the total to eight. The worker did not catch the coronavirus at the hospital, IH said.

COVID-19 testing

Testing is recommended for anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, including:

• Fever

• Cough

• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

• Loss of sense of taste or smell

• Other milder symptoms may include: runny nose, fatigue, body aches (muscles and joints aching), diarrhea, headache, sore throat, vomiting and red eyes.

 COVID-19 precautions

• Stay home and avoid travel if you have symptoms, even mild ones.

• Maintain physical distancing (two metres apart) and use masks when distancing is not possible.

• Wash your hands regularly and do not touch your face.

• Do not plan or attend gatherings of more than 50 people. Limit gatherings to out of doors whenever possible.

First ride-hailer cleaning up in Kelowna

Lucky to Go
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, drivers with Lucky to Go – the first ride-hailing service to launch in Kelowna – must wear masks. The company also recommends customers wear masks.

The release of long pent-up demand has propelled Kelowna’s first ride-hailing service to great success in its first few days of operation, company officials say.

Forty drivers with Lucky To Go have been busy since the service started on Canada Day, chief executive officer Mandeep Rana said Friday, and more drivers are signing up every day.

“The response from the market has been fantastic, even better than we thought it was going to be,” Rana said.

“I think that’s because many people are familiar with how a service like this works all around the world, and they’re just so excited that it’s finally been allowed to come to Kelowna,” Rana said.

The company, which is licensed to operate all around B.C., had planned to begin service in Vancouver or Victoria with Kelowna launching in the fall.

But in the last few weeks, Rana said, company officials realized there was considerable unserved demand in Kelowna that could be immediately capitalized upon. The company plans to begin service in Penticton and Vernon by the end of July.

Two other companies have been approved to operate in the Okanagan, but Lucky to Go is the first to begin service.

A ride to Kelowna airport from a downtown Kelowna hotel with Lucky to Go will cost between $27 and $32, compared to a taxi fare of between $40 and $45, Rana said. A trip from downtown Kelowna to Big White should cost about $80 with Lucky to Go, he said, compared to $140 for a taxi.

Customers need to download the Lucky to Go ride-hailing app, which provides real-time information on the location and availability of drivers. Customers can choose to tip, Rana said, and they can also provide a satisfaction rating for the driver.

Among other benefits, ride-hailing services should help increase the availability of safe transportation home for locals and tourists leaving Kelowna bars this summer, Rana says. In the past, Kelowna city council has complained about the lack of taxis available during the so-called bar flush, raising the prospect of impaired people getting behind the wheel.

Cattle farm stays put in middle of West Kelowna neighborhood

Webber Road farm
The property at 3620 Webber Rd. in the Glenrosa neighborhood of West Kelowna is currently used for cattle grazing. It must remain in the provincial land freeze and cannot be opened for development, the Agricultural Land Commission has ruled.

One of the last remaining farms in the West Kelowna neighbourhood of Glenrosa will not be opened for residential development.

The Agricultural Land Commission has rejected an exclusion request from the owners of a 1.4 ha property at 3620 Webber Rd.

“(We) find that the property has prime agricultural capability that could support the production of a wide range of agricultural crops,” ALC board member Gerry Zimmermann, a retired Kelowna fire chief and former city councillor, writes in a decision released earlier this month.

Although the Webber Road farm is surrounded by houses, that fact alone does not render the property unsuitable for farming, Zimmermann says.

The site is not currently farmed but is rented out for cattle grazing so the landowner can retain its agricultural status and achieve a favourable tax assessment, Zimmerman noted.

The decision is somewhat unusual in that the ALC signalled through a policy resolution in the early 1990s that it would support exclusion of 15 Glenrosa farmlands, including the one in question, as the area grew in population.

Of those 15 properties, six parcels have been excluded since the early ’90s and opened for development.

But in his ruling, released on June 12, Zimmermann said the ALC of today is not bound by the 1993 policy resolution.

He noted that “27 years have passed” since the resolution was adopted, and that the City of West Kelowna, successor to the Central Okanagan Regional District as the area’s form of local government, no longer supports the continued exclusion of the remaining Glenrosa farmlands.

However, when West Kelowna city council considered the exclusion request in February of this year, it was supported by a six-three vote.

“There’s a historic precedent set in this neighbourhood for exclusion,” Coun. Stephen Johnston, one of the exclusion supporters, said at the time.

Countered Coun. Rick De Jong: “This is not marginal land. This is good land. Every time we let a good parcel of land like this out of the ALR, the speculation and price-driving it does on every other piece of ALR land that isn’t being farmed goes up dramatically.”

Council’s deliberations on the matter, and subsequent vote, were only advisory in nature. The ALC, which oversees the regulation of all ALR land in B.C., had the fina word on whether the Webber Road property would be opened for development.

Minimal fuss proposed for outdoor dining and drinking.

 PatioTwo women have drinks on the patio at an Earls restaurant, in Vancouver, in mid-May. West Kelowna city council intends to make it easier for pubs and wineries to expand outdoors.

Bars and pubs in West Kelowna should be able to expand their serving areas without getting the usual municipal approval, city officials say.

Pre-approval of all such applications will help businesses recover from financial losses incurred because of COVID-19, councillors will hear Tuesday.

Capacity limits for restaurants and other licensed establishments have been reduced by 50 per cent as the province tries to manage the economic recovery in a way that does not trigger renewed transmission of the coronavirus.

Like other cities, West Kelowna wants to make it easy for business owners to expand their service areas onto sidewalks and other public spaces, to comply with the ongoing physical distancing regulations while maximizing commerce.

Eliminating the requirement for each such proposed expansion to be reviewed and approved will speed the economic recovery, officials say.

“Removing one additional hurdle amongst the numerous safety requirements that ensure residents and visitors are safe will allow business to reopen, hire staff, and contribute to our community’s recovery,” reads part of a staff report to council.

Permission for businesses to expand their service areas will be in effect until Oct. 31.

The new streamlined procedure for expanded service areas applies to restaurants, wineries, bars, breweries, and distilleries.

Winery explosion around Oliver

Okanagan Crush Pad winemaker Matt Dumayne crafted a diverse bunch of new release wines for the Summerland-based Haywire and Narrative labels. Lionel Trude

They have names such as Red Horses, Second Chapter, Sonora Desert, French Door and Lakeside.

They are the Okanagan’s newest wineries and belong to the Oliver Osoyoos Winery Association, taking membership of the group to 44.

In all, B.C. now has 370 wineries, most of them in the Okanagan.

 The statistics are a testament to the strength and rapid growth of the wine industry in the province.

Thirty-five years ago there were only 15 wineries in B.C.

Now, with 370 wineries, the industry is worth $2.8 billion annually.

The wineries get their grapes from 929 vineyards covering 10,260 acres in nine regions, Okanagan, Similkameen, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands, Thompson, Shuswap, Lillooet and Kootenays.

Red Horses, owned and operated by three generations of the Fortin family, is the first winery right in the town of Oliver at 365 Zinfandel Ave.

While its address may be Zinfandel, the winery capitalizes on Oliver’s heat and gravelly soils to make three big and bold Cabernet Sauvignons.

The winery also makes a Chardonnay and Merlot and two other wines with horse-inspired names, the Cross Breed blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon and Run Away Rose.

Second Chapter Wine Co. on Tinhorn Creek Road in Oliver is owned by John Pullen, previous co-proprietor of Church & State Winery in Oliver for 15 years.

Church & State was sold and Second Chapter is literally Pullen’s second chapter in the Okanagan wine industry.

Sonora Desert Winery in Osoyoos is a venture of grape growers and brothers Paul and Herman Gill.

French Door is a family-owned winery on Oliver’s Black Sage Bench.

And Lakeside Cellars is indeed beside Osoyoos Lake on the East Bench.

The Oliver Osoyoos Winery Association also wants you to know its Uncork the Sun series of podcasts with Moss Scheurkogel of The Vinstitute continues.

The first four episodes (creating a wine cellar, terroir, oak or no oak and viticulture) can be downloaded from OliverOsoyoos.com, iTunes or Spotify.

Scheurkogel also hosts virtual wine tastings on Facebook Live with the oak or no oak theme repeated Tuesday at 7 p.m., sparkling wines on June 23 at the same time and the softer side of reds on July 7.

The association has also posted the 360-degree video tour of Covert Farms Winery to its website.

Amazing winemaker

Winemaker Matt Dumayne can do it all.

The evidence is in the 12 new-release wines he crafted for Okanagan Crush Pad in Summerland under the Haywire and Narrative labels.

The dozen runs the gamut from white and red to rose and sparkling.

Dumayne is a Kiwi who worked in New Zealand, Australia, California and Nk’Mip on Osoyoos before landing at Okanagan Crush Pad in 2012.

Taste South Africa

Affordable, approachable and quality.

That enviable trifecta is being touted all of June as B.C. government liquor stores celebrate Wines of South Africa Month.

The COVID pandemic meant special tastings and events couldn’t be arranged.

However, there’s ample signage drawing attention to South African wines and tempting you to take home a bottle from the well-established Southern Hemisphere wine region.

You’re also urged to flaunt your drinking on social media with the hashtags #SpectacularSouthAfrica and #DrinkChenin.

Chenin Blanc is a grape and wine originally from France, but South Africa has made it it’ signature white wine.

Picture framers now in the virus-protection business

A West Kelowna business has adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep its employees working, help other businesses protect their staff and customers and support local food banks.

Mouldings and More, a picture frame manufacturer that has been in business for over 25 years, now makes acrylic virus barriers.

The Stevens Road business was already using acrylic to make display cases to protect items such as sports memorabilia, glassware and masks.

It began when a customer whose wife had severe asthma was looking for a way to protect her at work and asked the business if they could make something that could go in front of her.

“It kind of snowballed from there,” said Tracey Spooner with Mouldings and More.

Moving to making the barriers was an easy transition as the company is using a product they already have on hand and employees are using the same skills with different results.

The acrylic, which goes by the trade name Plexiglass, has unique entities and can’t just be glued, cut or drilled in a normal manner.

The acrylic is mounted upright on a counter and creates a barrier to give distance between staff and customers when they’re doing face to face transactions.

“It gives peace of mind,” said Spooner.

The response to the virus barriers has been wonderful, she said.

Mouldings and More didn’t want to appear to be trying to prosper during the pandemic when so many people were not working.

Spooner said the business would have been closed if it wasn’t making something necessary to protect people from the virus.

Mouldings and More is giving 20% of their net profits to the food bank.

They have already made one donation that was matched by Lakeview Market, the first grocery store that worked with Mouldings and More.

The business is helping local employers whose businesses aren’t an essential service prepare to open.

“They are choosing to purchase from our company, we hope not only because we’re doing a good job and we’re giving a donation to the food bank but because we’re a local business,” said Spooner.

They are also getting queries from businesses preparing for if and when they can open and want to have some barriers ready to go.

As word of mouth has spread through communities such as Kamloops, Vernon and Penticton, Mouldings and More has committed that as businesses in those communities start to use their barriers, they will set aside their portion of the proceeds for those communities’ food banks or Salvation Armies.

The barriers from Mouldings and More are attached to the business’s counter with a two-sided tape.

Because they sit on the counter, customers are not changing what they already have and not drilling holes.

“We want to make it feel like it was there the whole time,” said Spooner, adding barriers are customized for each customer and can be easily removed down the line.

Dockside Marine on the Westside, which is open to the public, installed virus barriers from Mouldings and More at the reception desk, parts desk and service desk.

Michelle Cartmell with Dockside said they went with Mouldings and More to support a local business but also to support the local food bank.

“It’s an all-around win,” she said.

Canadian Tire partners with West Kelowna cafe

 Kekuli TireLocal Canadian Tire owner Don Cummins is buying his staff lunches from the Kekuli Cafe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on businesses. Those who remain open to the public as essential services are under pressure to try to keep up, while restaurants struggle to stay alive offering take-out and delivery.

On the Westside, Don Cummins, the Canadian Tire dealer, and Sharon Bond-Hogg, owner of the Kekuli Cafe, have formed a mutually beneficial partnership between their neighbouring businesses.

For more than a month, Cummins has been supplying daily meals to his staff from the Kekuli Cafe.

Cummins came up with the idea as he was heading home after a long day at the store and noticed the large ‘We are open’ sign painted on the Kekuli Cafe’s window.

“It dawned on me that with only take-out orders, small businesses like that were struggling to make ends meet,” said Cummins.

He had met the owners before.

“They are really great local folks,” he said and thought maybe he could help them and at the same time give something back to his team at the store that would lighten their daily stress.

“They make the best bannock in the world, so my staff was just as excited,” he said.

After Cummins got in touch with his general manager, they contacted Bond-Hogg, and together they came up with the plan.

Bond-Hogg said Cummins called her out of the blue asking if she would be interested in forming a partnership as he would be buying his staff lunch through the COVID-19 crisis.

It was good news for Bond Hogg, who said the partnership has allowed her restaurant to remain open. Restrictions during the pandemic had seen her sales drop 75 to 80%, and they were looking at cutting back hours, closing certain days or even closing their doors during the pandemic.

“We gained so many new customers and everyone has loved the food,” said Bond Hogg. “We almost have everyone’s name memorized and the staff there are positive, friendly and supportive.”

The partnership has also given people the chance to see what the Kekuli Cafe offers as the only Indigenous fast casual restaurant in Canada.

Popular items for the catered lunches include frybread powwow tacos, handmade bannock flatbread with homemade pebre salsa, sour creme, lettuce, cheese with a choice of venison, chicken, chorizo or corn/bean and the venison bacon cheddar on homemade baked bannock YeYe bun.

“My team loves it,” said Cummins, adding some of his staff have mentioned the catered lunches relieve a lot of stress related to getting groceries or making lunch every day.

“It feels good to help out our neighbours and employees,” he said.

Green light for drive-thru that city planners opposed

Drive-thrus might still have a future in Kelowna outside the main town centre areas, city councillors say.

Council, by an 8-1 vote on Tuesday, went against a staff recommendation not to approve a new drive-thru at the northwest corner of Highway 97 North and Sexsmith Road.

Staff had said drive-thrus were “not a necessity” and that vehicle emissions from idling vehicles produced greenhouse gases that caused climate change.

But councillors took the position that the proposed location was a reasonable site for a Triple O’s restaurant with a drive-thru, partly because there are already two other drive-thrus – a Tim Hortons and a McDonald’s – at the intersection.

Some councillors also noted drive-thrus are particularly busy these days with in-restaurant dining options closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the future uncertainty surrounding restaurant operations, drive-thrus are likely to remain popular and useful for many people, councillors said.

As well, there were observations from some councillors that vehicles are increasingly fuel efficient, with newer models producing less greenhouse gas emissions than older cars and trucks.

Planning staff intend to eventually bring forward a proposal to ban drive-thrus in all areas of Kelowna.

At Tuesday’s meeting, councillors were not being asked to comment on that idea directly, as it’s a decision for a future meeting.

Nevertheless, some councillors said they could envision a ban on new drive-thrus in town centres – like downtown Kelowna, central Rutland, and the South Pandosy district – where the city’s general aim is to encourage more walkable areas, with a mix of residential, commercial and office uses, rather than additional car-oriented development.

But some councillors indicated they would likely continue to support new drive-thru proposals along high traffic corridors, like Highway 97.